"I have all my life regretted that I did not keep a regular (journal). I have myself lost recollection of much that was interesting and I have deprived my family and the public of some curious information by not carrying this resolution into effect." Sunday 20 November, 1825. With these words Scott began what many regard as his greatest work, a diary which was to turn into an extraordinary day-to-day account of the last six years of his life, years of financial ruin, bereavement, and increasing ill health. As he laboured to pay off debts of over GBP120,000, Scott emerges, not simply as a great writer, but as an almost heroic figure whose generosity and even temper shine through at all times. This edition presents a complete edited text and notes drawing on a wealth of other material including correspondence, reminiscences and the memoirs of Scott's contemporaries. It remains one of the standards by which Scott scholarship is judged.
Born in Edinburgh, Sir Walter Scott (1771 - 1832) spent some of his childhood in the Scottish Borders, before being educated at Edinburgh High School and Edinburgh University, where he studied law. In 1799 he was appointed Sherriff-Depute for Selkirkshire, where he settled. He first wrote immensely popular long romantic historical poems such as Marmion (1808) and Lady of the Lake (1810), then turned to historical fiction. Works such as Waverley, (1814), Rob Roy, (1818) The Heart of Midlothian,(1818), and Redgauntlet (1824), created a vogue for Scottish history and created a romantic vision of Scotland and Scottishness.